Trade Relations

The exchange of goods, or trade, amongst the Stó:lō peoples, operated on numerous levels. Community and family members exchanged goods amongst themselves, strangers traded for profit, while enemies attacked and stole from one another. Items that were considered valuable for trade and exchange included obsidian, baskets, salmon, shells, native copper and plants.

Inter-village marriages provided many opportunities for trade networking amongst the Stó:lō. The provincial government independently decided, through the court case R. v. Van der Peet 1996, that Stó:lō peoples learned about trade from Europeans. However, linguistic evidence, in the form of Halq'emeylem words about barter, trade and sale, proves that prior to contact with European newcomers, the Stó:lō peoples participated in trade with other indigenous peoples for profit and understood the concept of market value long before the European settlers arrived.

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